Do-or-Die for Cowboys vs. PhillyBy Ashley Powell
Back in August, when Dallas looked ahead to its Week 10 matchup with division-rival Philadelphia, it looked like it would be a knock-down dragged out battle. But it's not August. Both teams are struggling with 3-5 records this season and their respective playoff pictures are fading faster than yesterday's sunset.
The Cowboys will face the Eagles for the 102nd time in the regular season on Sunday, leading the series 56-46. Both coaches are struggling and Jason Garrett and Andy Reid are in the cross-hairs of discontent.
There is speculation that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may have his eyes on New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who is serving a 1-year suspension by the league. If the team chooses to read into the speculated hype this could be bad news for Garrett.
Stop the bleeding
The Cowboys are hoping to avoid a third consecutive loss in this series after dropping both matchups last season by a combined score of 54-14. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick went berserk passing for 572 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in 2011. It will be up to the defense to get pressure on Vick and rattle his cage. Vick is prone to mistakes with nine interceptions and 10 fumbles on the season.
Philadelphia is playing with a patch-quilt offensive line without left tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce and right guard Danny Watkins. The team was dealt another crushing blow when offensive tackle Todd Herremans suffered a dislocated bone and ligament damage in his right foot. The right tackle was placed on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday.
The Eagles offensive line has surrendered 27 sacks this season, seven of those coming last week against New Orleans and with outside linebacker Demarcus Ware & Company chomping at the bit, this could be a long and painful day for Vick and the Eagles porous line.
Look for quarterback Tony Romo to come out with his usual gunslinger mentality. He will be facing the Eagles pass defense that is currently ranked 15th in the league giving up an average of 229.4 yards through the air.
It’s time to produce for Romo.
"It's definitely time for us to play our best football game against an opponent that we obviously didn't play great against last year," Romo said earlier this week. "It'll be a tough environment. It's an important game for them. And we need to play our best football."
With no running game, the weight of the game will be on Romo’s shoulders. It appears star running back Demarco Murray will be out for his fourth consecutive game due to a foot injury sustained in Week 5 against Baltimore. The Cowboys must establish a running game to have any chance to win this game.
Sunday's matchup may look like a game between two teams with nothing to lose, but everything is relative. They’re both desperate for a win with Dallas having a slight edge for the victory. Cowboys may be trending up while the Eagles stock is suffering more than the Fiscal Cliff. If the Cowboys can pull it off, they would hand Philadelphia its fifth straight loss, something that hasn’t been done since 1998 when the Eagles started 0-5. Stay tuned.